President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he heard that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is out to kill him.
“Sabi nila pa-plano-plano raw ang CIA na patayin ako. Susmaryosep, ginoo,” he said in a speech before the members of the Filipino community in Vietnam on Wednesday evening.
[They said the CIA was planning to kill me. Jesus, Mary, Joseph!]
Duterte made this claim as he was stressing that he would not allow the Philippines to join the US in patrolling the disputed South China Sea.
“I am not ready to commit the soldiers of this country just to be massacred and besides—besides t*** ina, ang battleground, ang Palawan? Naloko na. Eh kung dalhin natin doon sa San Francisco, okay ako. [And besides, the battleground is Palawan? That's madness! What if we bring it to San Francisco? I'm fine with that],” he said.
Duterte has repeatedly criticized the US for calling him out over alleged human rights violations linked to his war on drugs, even as he attempts to seek new alliances which analysts say could alienate the Philippines’ long-time treat ally.
In recent speeches, Duterte has indicated that he wants to distance the Philippines from the US and forge new alliances with China and Russia, two countries with communist roots which have sparred with the Western superpower in the international stage.
In his speech in Hanoi on Wednesday, Duterte also announced that the upcoming war games among Filipino and American soldiers will be the last.
His aides, however, downplayed the president’s statement and said the Philippines remains committed to its ties with the US.
According to Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., the Philippines will go ahead with joint military exercises in 2017 with the US but the holding of war games from 2018 onwards would be reviewed.
Yasay said the 2017 drills were agreed by the previous administration and anything beyond then would be reassessed.
Duterte’s comments, which came less than a week before close to 2,000 American and Filipino troops hold annual amphibious exercises, were delivered “in the context of the fact that there will be no joint patrols,” Yasay said.
“He will respect all of our treaty commitments with the United States,” Yasay told reporters in Hanoi.
“If our agreements with the United States in so far as war games are concerned is there, and these should be done pursuant to the agreement that we have, that will be respected, that will continue,” he added.
He said the Philippines did not want a military ally and wished to be friends with all countries, and alienate none, and that would be how it would settle disputes in the South China Sea. – with Reuters